A new diet action plan can be difficult to follow. The body craves routine and, for better or worse, your body has become used to the way you eat. So when you take away that bag of chips from your afternoon snack, your body tells you that something is missing, often in the shape of increased irritability and stress.
That’s why I strongly recommend becoming a mindful eater by slowly adding good foods to your diet, rather than by eliminating bad ones. By that I mean it’s better to add a few servings of vegetables before eliminating those French fries.
So what kind of foods should you add? In this three part diet action plan series, I will show you why you should move your diet towards whole foods. In the first part, I talk about three benefits of whole foods. In the second, I will show you how to spot whole foods and will tell you why some “light” foods might still weigh you down. And finally, I round out the series with some notes on how to prime your kitchen to get the most out of whole foods and offer up a few good recipes to help get you started.
Ready? Let’s begin.
Why Choose Whole Foods?
1. Whole Foods are Full of Nutrients that Your Body is Engineered by Nature to Absorb
For a million years, the human body has depended on whole foods to survive. As hunter gatherers we lived mostly off what we could find in the world around us, rarely stopping to modify what we ate. As such, our bodies have evolved to be very, very good at absorbing the nutrients found in unprocessed foods.
Whole foods are full of naturally occuring nutrients, which our bodies can digest very effeciently. What’s even better is that the nutrients found in different whole foods are made to work together to yield awesome results for our overall health. For example, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, regular meals that combine whole broccoli and tomato, were more effective at fighting cancer than meals that included supplements derived from the cancer-fighting compounds found in tomatoes and broccoli!
Which brings me to my next point.
2. Whole Foods Are Disease-Fighting Ninjas!
The beta-cryptoxanthin found in watermelons and bell peppers can supercharge your bone growth and can help fight everything from osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis to cancer. The pigment of blueberries and raspberries, cyanidin, is anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and can stave off cardiovascular disease. And the choline in a couple of eggs is enough to kickstart your brain in the morning.
Here’s the catch: processing destroys many of these fragile compounds. So that watermelon ice cream or that raspberry snack bar is just not going to give you the nutirients you’re looking for to fight back against the onset of disease.
And while we’re picking on processed foods, here’s another point in favour of whole foods.
3. Processed Foods Cost You 50% Less Energy to Digest
That’s a bad thing.
Think of the way your digestive system works. After you eat something, the food makes its way down the intestinal tract. Once there, the body starts looking for nutrients to absorb. Unfortunately, because processing destroys a lot of these nutrients, the body doesn’t work very hard to digest what you’ve eaten.
Because you spend less energy digesting the food, more calories are stored in your body. So not only are you getting less nutrients from your diet, you’re also left with more stored calories to burn off.
The Bottom Line
Processed foods do very little for you. Some are healthier than others, but they all miss out on the amazing features of natural, unprocessed foods.
Check in next week and I’ll tell you how to select whole foods, what to ask your grocer when you’re shopping and I’ll also point out some of the traps you will come across when you’re walking the aisles at the grocery store.
Part II: Shopping for Whole Foods
Part III: Easy Whole Food Recipes
Tags: Burke Cleland Ottawa Personal Trainer, Fitness and Nutrition, Ottawa Nutrition Coaching, westboro personal training studio
Posted by Burke